Extending working life

A cunning device from Atlanta based INGenius ATG may soon have the major disposable battery manufacturers quaking in their boots.

INGenius claims that its Battery Recycler allows standard alkaline batteries to be safely recharged several times: reducing the number of batteries sent to landfill sites and saving the user considerable amounts of money.

The other advantage of recharging standard batteries is that they usually have around double the capacity of batteries which are manufactured to be rechargeable.

The working life of an alkaline battery ends when all of the electrolyte solution has passed through a separator from one electrode to the other. Recharging batteries should therefore be a simple process of transferring the electrolyte back to its starting position. Unfortunately, any attempt to do this with standard alkaline batteries results in the formation of small particles called dendrites in the thousands of channels which make up the separator. These dendrites ultimately block up these channels, preventing the free passage of the electrolyte, and stopping the battery from working.

INGenius claims to have patented a process which reduces the formation of dendrites during charging, allowing the battery to be recharged a number of times and preventing it from heating up during recharging. This is achieved through the use of an electrical wave form which prevents hydrogen bubbles from forming and chemically reunites the negative ions with potassium to reform the original electrolyte.